Most of us think of health insurance as complicated and a little mysterious. The Health Navigators at Dallas County Health Department frequently hear people puzzling over what their insurance includes, or wondering why someone else gets a benefit they don’t.

Typically when you enroll in a health care plan, you receive a membership packet and a card. While the card is definitely useful at a registration desk for billing purposes, it shows other information you can use.

A health insurance card shows your plan type, such as HMO, PPO, HSA or Open. This tells what type of network your plan has, and which doctors, specialists and other services your plan covers.

Your card will indicate your copayment amounts for different types of services. Very often what you must pay for a primary clinic visit will be much less than what you’ll be charged for an emergency room visit.

Health insurance cards usually include the copay amounts for prescriptions. It may even show the price difference between generic and name brand medications.

Last, a very important piece of information on your insurance card is the Member Service phone number. Call them with questions about your coverage and for pre-authorizations.